Not everyone can meet the fierce standards of our American and Korean expats, but these joints are coming pretty damn close to perfecting the ancient art of battering and deep frying poultry.
Where to get fried chicken in Melbourne
On days when your hunger can only be sated by a piece of fried chicken the size of your face salvation is yours in the form of the aptly titled Hot Star Large Fried Chicken, a Taiwanese chain that does 250g pieces of chicken breast cooked on the bone.
Stepping away from the good old Southern US of A and into South Korea, here you get chicken fried every which way. Wings in a spicy batter are deep fried and slicked in either a sweet chilli or soy glaze so it’s all finger sticking good times. We’re big fans of the gang jung – a mixed pile of tender Korean fried chicken nuggets, spicy potato wedges and thick chewy rice noodles all rolled in sweet chilli sauce. En garde, arteries!
The man who gave us All Day Donuts, Beatbox Kitchen and Taco Truck turned his attention to fried chicken with Juanita Peaches, a buzzy chicken-and-beer joint tucked away inside All Day Donuts. Try the chicken with horseradish cream and chilli vinegar.
This is the original Korean chicken and beer joint to steal our hearts and they don’t mess around. They even have a shower in the toilets. The menu is limited to mountains of fried chicken, which comes in original, soy-garlic or sweet chilli flavour, and even bigger quantities of beer. There’s the odd bit of roughage in the form of a mayo-squiggled coleslaw, but it’s the health equivalent of eating a parsley garnish on a one-kilo T-bone. Bib up, friend up, get a four-litre keg of beer and tackle this restaurant like a chicken eating champion.
This artery-clogging Collingwood burger joint (inside a train carriage on a rooftop, natch) also does a mean fried chicken. Get there for breakfast for the legenday sugar-dusted, Frosties-crumbed fried chicken with deep-fried Pop Tarts. There are also donuts rolled in cinnamon and injected with milkshake-flavoured custard, if you can stomach them.
Southern-style fried chicken has nailed the eating zeitgeist, but the crew at Belle’s Hot Chicken have turned it into an extreme sport. If you want to simulate the experience of having your head blown off while angels sing the tunes of the Wu-Tang Clan, head straight for their "really fuckin’ hot" chicken. It has a body count.